How many times have you heard hiring managers say; “Gotta hire the most qualified candidate. Can’t take any chances.” In an era of accountability, many hiring managers count on the least likely candidate to fail. It’s a safe bet—protecting how senior management perceives your hiring skills in identifying a great hire versus mediocre one.
Every hiring manager wants to make the best selection possible, ensuring new employees that stand out and add value. When a new hire turns out to be a star employee, everybody wins and the company propels forward. When the opposite occurs, a cloud of doubt hovers over the hiring manager with questionable skills and competencies to recognize future top-tier talent.
As recruiting consultants to many of the top industry pharma clients, we have interviewed and placed hundreds of candidates over the years. Clients value our resources and recommendations, recognizing the right candidate for the right job.
Let us share some secret ingredients you can focus on for being the right fit:
- Measure your intangibles along with qualifications – Meeting 100% of the job requirements is certainly the goal, but measuring and evaluating your intangibles like personality, attitude, motivation, and connection to other people are just as important. These skills rise to the top for long term success.
- Is the new opportunity a step up or lateral move? – In this challenging hiring environment, a candidate needs to evaluate the intermediate and long-term career growth potential. In prior years, the rule of thumb was never take a new job unless there is a title promotion. Not any longer. Titles are mixed and can mean different levels of responsibilities across different companies. That’s why defining the role and asking specific questions about the role are important as you decide to pursue an opportunity or not.
- Hone your virtual interview skills – 85-90% of first-time interviews are now virtual due to Covid. First impressions still matter, even on a computer screen. There is much to master in today’s virtual interview prep, but the short answer is practice, practice, practice. Ask a friend or colleague to evaluate how you come across on screen. Do a Zoom call with someone an hour or two before the actual interview. It will calm you down and increase your confidence to have some practice before the real deal. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.
Meeting job requirements are important. I don’t want to downplay experience and qualifications for the potential job. But take a step back. Even though you may not meet the job requirements, your approach and preparation along with thinking through these tips will always give you a better chance of landing the job. Make it count.
2020 has been quite the year. It’s becoming a common question not only in business circles but as a casual conversation topic amongst family and friends (often via Zoom!): “How long will this pandemic go on?”
The future is starting to look brighter from a business perspective. The reopening of many states is slowly but steadily unfolding. We are trying to get back to a sense of normalcy, balancing work and family decisions, staying healthy and safe. I have spoken to many of you who want to figure out whether to make a move or just stay put for fear of uncertainty in the job market. It is difficult to get into a mindset of what to do next right now.
But not to panic. These uncertain times doesn’t mean you should put your aspirations on hold. There are many attractive positions out there and companies are still in an active mode of recruiting – they are looking to grow and thrive, and need talented folks to make that happen. Don’t wait. Keep focused, stay positive, act and think like a leader. Pursue a range of possible opportunities. Investigate that dream job you see posted. You have options, see where they lead!
Here are 3 actions to take now to propel your career growth:
- Evaluate all department opportunities within your group. If you seem stuck in your current position, look at the “total job” first. Has it changed in the past 4-5 months? If so, measure what the job will look like in the next 6-12 months. Do you like what you see ahead? We’re all experiencing various stages of discouragement, rejection, and missing out on the normal routine of the past. The future can be just as uncertain in the best of times too. So it makes sense to open yourself up to new opportunities and keep yourself resilient to future change ahead—be it within your own company or outside.
- Consider what your next planned promotion should be, based on your last performance evaluation. This is key. Normally your supervisor needs to hear from you as to why moving to the next level is deserved. Yes, you can plant a seed of pursuing the next promotion from your home office by keeping connected with your boss, preferably a virtual face-to-face. Remember, “out of sight, out of mind” applies even when working from home. Bypass the email or text message. Get on the video when talking with your boss. Visuals are memorable.
It’s easy to think because of the pandemic there is no need to get on the radar for that next level promotion. Wrong. Internal promotions are moving right along so don’t hesitate. Make yourself and your intentions known up front about that next career step. It shows initiative.
- Reconnect with contacts outside your company and in the industry. It’s easy to think social distancing is not a great moment for building and extending your network. But with more people than ever communicating online, it could be a good chance to reconnect with old contacts too. Some studies suggest distant connections (old college friends, roommates, past colleagues) are often better places to offer you new perspectives and honest advice than your nearest and dearest trusted family and close friends. Make a bold move and pick up the phone and ask, “hey, any new positions in your company?” Yes, it could feel awkward but just reconnecting and telling stories of good times past could be all it takes to rekindle that relationship and put you on the radar for new opportunities and connections.
Especially now, you could be in one of two places in life: moving forward or stuck-in-a-rut. Which one are you in? Take small steps forward to advance your career—even in an unprecedented year of challenges. Make it count!
We have read about it, watched our local and national media, and perhaps know someone who is affected by the global pandemic. Its been very hard to watch. It has dramatically changed our daily lives and taken us all by surprise.
The good news is we are plodding through the inconvenience and lacing up our boots to continue living our lives. We are adapting and innovating with both vigor and caution. It’s a new world.
The strategic plan you may have set for yourself in January no doubt looks different now. Moving forward we’ll all need to be flexible and adapt to the challenging environment we find ourselves in today. Life indeed has shuffled itself and a new deck is needed.
Navigating these waters is so hard right now. If you have ever been hit by a storm–whether in business or life in general–you know change is inevitable. So what can you do to stand out in times of inconvenience and hardship, especially now?
Here are a few suggestive tips to optimize your output in the midst of a very challenging time:
- Health and family come first. – The hair on the back of your neck stands up when family health and safety are affected. Absolutely! We are likely working remotely and/or practicing the new normal of social distancing. If you find yourself working from your kitchen table while homeschooling 3 kids, you are not alone. Having an office separate from the busy living quarters is ideal. While the home office environment is challenging, it’s the best thing you can offer your family in order to keep each other healthy. Consider informing your boss, specifically, what works best for you (e.g., extra bandwidth, X Chair available on www.amazon.com; dual monitors, etc.), and how you can be more productive to better accommodate your professional needs.
- Stay connected. Right now your normal work environment has definitely changed. Its rare to hear if someone hasn’t been affected. I predict we’ll see remote work extended and become more accepted, even after things get back to normal. A 2010 report in the Journal Health and Social Behavior argues that human contact is also vital to your physical health. As we find it harder and harder to have human interactions in person, consider leveraging the video conferencing technology that is already so prevalent in the workplace—even if to just say hello face-to-face and check in with a colleague.
- Add an hour each week to “think.” These are unique times where you have the opportunity to slow down and think. Contemplate, analyze, and plan ahead. How often are you able to do that? Yep, almost never! Being alone allows some uninterrupted moments to really think about life, business ideas, and department responsibilities.
- Check in and offer to help. Avoid simply emailing and texting your boss. Call or video chat to let him/her know you are ready to contribute in an evolving environment. Even if nothing emerges immediately, knowing you are on the sidelines willing to help is a great advantage for you!
Hang in there. We will ride out this new normal and soon get back to living and enjoying life’s freedoms. Stay well, be safe.
You’ve heard it before I’m sure while watching sports: “Momentum is changing, the team is clicking on all cylinders…” It is an expected slogan when one team gets that all-important edge over the opponent.
And in every career, there is a similar wave of momentum when circumstances in your job, and personal life, are striving forward. And it just might be the time to consider a pivot. The momentum is in your favor.
In a full employment economy, you are the one “controlling the ball” when considering a career/job change. It isn’t always a quick or easy decision, but it is one you can control. There are many factors to consider when thinking about a new role or new company. But, when momentum is on your side, it can be an easier decision.
In my coaching calls, I recommend it is always good to explore your options when in a position of strength. Here are a few to ponder:
- Network and keep in touch with people. – A simple text or short email checking in on someone can reap benefits. ASK about them and ways you might offer to help. You would be surprised how many will respond. And yes, they remember the next time they see a message from you. Chances are a quick response will return your way, or even information on a possible job opening with a new employer.
- Stay current with industry trends. – Stay connected with industry trends, mergers, acquisitions. When we get busy, we ignore the larger picture. Stay informed. Read the journals, articles and press releases online. Beginning each office day, I read First Word Pharma (http://www.fwreports.com/firstword-pharma/) Its free to sign-up and comes to your inbox every morning. Well worth a 10-15 minute read each day.
- Stay open to something new. – It is a great time to be employed in the pharma/biotech/medical device industries. The market for new and innovative products is at an all-time high. Resist complacency, seek challenge, and consider a new job opportunity. You never know what unique position awaits unless you open the door to consideration. Discuss your thoughts with your recruiter, and even close friends. They often have some inside tips to share that may help you sort out some unanswered questions, and perhaps make a move to carry that momentum to the next level.
If you are consistently busting your hump yet few people notice, it is easy to be unmotivated to work hard. Well, maybe not.
In the workplace, it’s all about accomplishing much with few resources. It’s part of working the fast-paced, ever-changing world of corporate pharma we live and breathe.
Long hours, project deadlines, follow up, late evenings on the laptop—all contribute to time away from family and friends. You can be under-appreciated especially if you are wired to thrive on encouragement, and for the boss to say, “well done!”
Psychologically, it normally takes one comment from a supervisor or co-worker acknowledging your diligence and hard work to keep your engine running. But wait. Be patient. People are observing. The boss may not actually speak into your translation of appreciation and encouragement, but I’ll bet the work you are doing is in fact getting noticed.
Here are some suggestions for getting noticed in the workplace, and at the same time ramping up your productivity:
- Find uninterrupted time – Consider an early start to the day. Beat the crowd in the morning before meetings begin and people pop in your office. Likely you will accomplish 30-40% of your daily work in the first few hours.
- Start small – Focus on shorter projects that can be knocked out soonest. Project scope varies but as you feel empowered with mental energy, stick with it to completion and check it off the list.
- Don’t overload the calendar – Success is a process. It takes time and consistency. Don’t be a hero taking on additional work. Do what you do well.
- Seek a mentor – Model others who are successful. Seek out someone who knows your strengths and weaknesses. Check in periodically and ask for feedback.
- Be consistent. Resist distraction – Be mindful of the potential distractions in your daily work that can lead to time and energy wasted. Interruptions, social media looks, or trips to the coffee bar can add up.
- Celebrate benchmarks and milestones – Reward yourself when projects and presentations are completed. You need satisfaction knowing you have accomplished goals or met expectations. Once you experience the old adage ’15 minutes of fame’, its off to the next challenge, and more accomplishments ahead!
How many articles have you read over the years on careers and tips on “making the best of your career”? Too many. We get numb over constant bombardment. Maybe this article is just another one on the pile, but maybe not. How can you make the best of your current role, yet look ahead at improving to the next opportunity? Keep reading…
Whether you have worked for one company since college or grad school, or changed companies often, the work environment is basically the same. You need to be aware of your options, evaluate them, and make the best decision.
Over this past year during coaching calls, these recommendations have stood out and returned results. Here are some thoughts, and they work:
- Evaluate all department opportunities within your group. If you feel “stuck in neutral” at your current position, explore the next opportunity with a focus of learning something new and stretching yourself. We all go through stages of disappointment, discouragement, rejection, and missing out on that key promotion. When it happens, we have the tendency to be upset and flee. Instead consider staying the course. Remember, attitude is everything!
- Find out your timetable for the next promotion. This is key. Normally your supervisor needs to hear from you as to why moving to the next level is deserved and justified. Often times we don’t plant the seed early enough. Make your desire for advancement known. It’s a bold, and even uncomfortable move for some people, but it shows initiative and commitment.
- Make sure bonus percentage and salary increase are in line with your performance. Many supervisors routinely ask their direct reports to self-evaluate. This is ideal, and to your advantage. Be honest in the evaluation and highlight accomplishments as well as skills you want to improve. Detail study/project documents to help support your facts are necessary. When you meet to discuss with management, be ready with additional information highlighting past projects and campaigns. In that meeting, you are selling yourself.
- Stay connected on social media sites more inclined towards business, (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). When convenient, pick up the phone, have a conversation with people you trust, and/or want to get to know. People need people You will glean new information and it will be good to know. Make the time to network.
And finally, in golf there is a saying, “commit to the shot”. When golfers do this, the outcome is always better. If you are focused, and have gathered your info, go ahead and follow through. Seldom do impulses work long term. Gather your facts, commit to the shot!
Make it Count!
Steve Kane, PharmaOne Search